Against most mothers' best wishes, motorcycles are still a popular mode of transportation. Whether that be a commuter scooter in the city or a weekend Harley cruiser. In 2017, there were just over 8.4 million registered motorcycles in the United States. That's a 23-percent increase over the last decade. Pretty good for an industry that is supposedly being diminished by millennials.

Riding a motorcycle no matter where you are is dangerous. The open exposure compared to the confines of a vehicle presents a greater risk of bodily harm. Safety features are better than ever but injuries and death are an ever-present risk. We here at QuoteWizard set out to see which states are the most dangerous for motorcycle riders.

Methodology

We looked at 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fatality figures in each state and compared it with 2017 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) motorcycle registration data to find which states had the highest rate of fatalities per registered motorcycle. Below is a ranking of all 50 states, with 1 being the highest rate of fatalities and 50 being the lowest.

Rank (worst) State Registered Motorcycles Fatalities Fatalities per 10,000 Registered Motorcycles
1 Mississippi 28,124 40 14.22
2 Texas 364,690 490 13.44
3 South Carolina 118,132 145 12.27
4 Florida 586,267 590 10.06
5 Arizona 164,055 163 9.94
6 North Carolina 188,843 176 9.32
7 New Mexico 57,718 53 9.18
8 Kentucky 101,163 90 8.90
9 Missouri 138,294 121 8.75
10 Louisiana 113,664 96 8.45
11 Tennessee 165,968 134 8.07
12 Maryland 118,277 86 7.27
13 Arkansas 89,457 65 7.27
14 Nevada 76,032 54 7.10
15 Alabama 112,185 79 7.04
16 Hawaii 35,576 25 7.03
17 Oklahoma 136,190 93 6.83
18 Georgia 203,922 139 6.82
19 Connecticut 90,131 57 6.32
20 California 842,543 529 6.28
21 Virginia 193,951 117 6.03
22 Indiana 250,579 149 5.95
23 Wyoming 28,960 17 5.87
24 Kansas 95,892 56 5.84
25 Michigan 258,487 150 5.80
26 New Jersey 152,979 83 5.43
27 Colorado 190,002 103 5.42
28 Maine 51,467 26 5.05
29 Pennsylvania 377,158 187 4.96
30 Illinois 333,943 162 4.85
31 Nebraska 55,736 27 4.84
32 Utah 83,993 39 4.64
33 West Virginia 60,582 26 4.29
34 Vermont 30,955 13 4.20
35 Oregon 142,738 57 3.99
36 Idaho 63,297 25 3.95
37 Ohio 410,187 157 3.83
38 New York 392,178 145 3.70
39 Delaware 27,810 10 3.60
40 Rhode Island 30,914 11 3.56
41 Washington 231,401 80 3.46
42 Massachusets 168,931 51 3.02
43 Iowa 194,603 48 2.47
44 Wisconsin 324,670 77 2.37
45 North Dakota 51,941 12 2.31
46 Minnesota 241,556 55 2.28
47 New Hampshire 78,798 15 1.90
48 Alaska 31,859 6 1.88
49 South Dakota 117,461 16 1.36
50 Montana 306,655 23 .75

Takeaways

A key pattern we found in fatality rates among states is weather. Colder, more northern states like Alaska and New Hampshire have low fatality rates, while warmer, more southern states like Texas and Mississippi had the highest rates. When you consider that motorcycle riders in Alaska can only ride a few months out of the year, compared to Texas where you can ride all year long, that difference in rideable seasons has a huge impact on the number of fatalities. Warm weather states are most dangerous for motorcycle riders because of the year round chances of road fatalities compared to the limited time frames of colder weather states.